We have investigated the influence of the deformation temperature from 25 ◦ C (RT) to -196 ◦ C on the dislocation structures associated with strain localization phenomena in an austenitic Fe-30Mn-6.5Al-0.3C (wt.%) low-density steel by electron channeling contrast imaging (ECCI), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and bright-field transmitted forescattered electron imaging ((BF) t-FSEI) techniques. The characteristics of the dislocation structures were evaluated on the main texture components, i.e. <111>//tensile axis, <112>//tensile axis, and <001>//tensile axis directions. The inhomogeneous character of the plastic behavior is promoted upon cryogenic deformation due to the formation of dislocation structures associated with strain localization, namely microbands (MBs) and deformation bands (DBs). ECCI analysis of the dislocation structure reveals that the deformation temperature has a strong influence on the thermal-assisted dislocation processes controlling the dislocation configurations and MB formation mechanisms. The MB nucleation mechanism evolves from a crossslip-assisted mechanism at RT deformation conditions to a slip band-assisted mechanism at cryogenic deformation temperatures. This effect has a profound effect on the grain orientation dependence of the MB structure but not on its crystallographic alignment. On the other hand, cryogenic deformation temperatures (-196 ◦ C) enhance the material’s mechanical strength and ductility due to the activation of deformation twinning, which is associated with the reduction of the stacking fault energy. We find that MBs have a small contribution to strain-hardening and ductility due to the small mechanical resistance of these dislocation structures against the advance of deformation twins and dense dislocation layers, and the comparatively small plastic strain accommodated by them, respectively. These findings provide new insights into the microband-induced plasticity (MBIP) effect.

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